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Article: Love this Norwegian renovation with its clean lines


Love this Norwegian renovation with its clean lines

Renovating a dated Seventies house in Norway gave Marte Kihl the chance to be creative, both with how the space works for her family and how she decorated

Five years ago, Marte Kihl and her husband Christian were living with two small children in an apartment on the fifth floor – without a lift. Marte dreamed of living on the ground floor, with their own garden. She really wanted to stay in the Norwegian district of Hosle, but everything they viewed just didn’t feel right. Then they saw a 1970s small detached house in the funkis style in a quiet cul-de-sac, and “everything fell into place,” Marte explains. Well, everything apart from the inside. “Nothing had been done to it since it had been built in the Seventies,” explains Marte, “apart from an uninhabitable extension.”


Undeterred, Marte jumped straight into renovation plans, hiring an architect to help with the couple’s extensive renovation ideas. “We tore everything out so only the shell remained,’ she remembers. “It was a huge project – and I loved it!”

The new ground floor allowed the family to be together no matter where they were in the house. “It is open and lovely now,” says Marte, “although, working from home and the occasional quarantine may have revealed the downsides of open-plan living.


When it came to the decor, Marte made a conscious decision to add something whimsical to every space. “I wanted our home to have a warm atmosphere. The house is sleek and minimalist in its design, so we’ve softened it up with throws, cushions, curtains and flowers.” The floral rug, from Trendcarpet, adds pretty colour and pattern. The sofa is from IKEA. Marte designed the shelving unit in the living-kitchen-dining space with IKEA cupboards, teaming it with shelves to match the kitchen worktops.


The kitchen units are from Kvik. The magnetic wallpaper, featuring a giant rabbit from Groovy Magnets, is Marte’s surprise element in this space.


The dining table is made from a thick wooden slab, which Marte sanded and oiled, and the table legs are from Hay. Above the table hangs a pendant shade from Broste Copenhagen.


Marte and Christian’s bedroom has been renamed “the cave” by the couple, thanks to its dark walls and ceiling (painted in Bergknatt from Jotun), floral pillows and pale linen help to keep the space inviting.


The walls were all white when the couple moved in, “but I’ve got braver over time,” confesses Marte, and gradually the white walls have disappeared one by one. “I’ve become a real colour nerd – the kind that gets excited when Jotun releases new colour charts! I have a whole shed of swatches.”

Words: Mai Eckhoff Morseth/House of Pictures. Styling: Tone Kroken/House of Pictures. Photography: Filippa Tredal/House of Pictures.